What Kind of Book do You Want to Write?

It is important that early in your preparation process you decide on a genre for your book. In other words, what category or type of book will best help you tell your story/communicate your message? Below is a short list (not exhaustive by any means) of genres or categories from which you can choose:

1. Romance
2. Adventure
3. Mystery
4. Comedy
5. Fantasy
6. Horror
7. Sci-Fi
8. History
9. Historical Fiction

There are plenty of other categories to choose from but for our purposes, these will suffice. If you’d like to know more genres or types of books, a simple search will provide you with a list of additional genres.

When I decided to write Escape through the Wilderness, I knew from the start I wanted the target audience to be young readers and the genre to be adventure. Coming to those decisions early helped influence many of the initial choices about the book like the setting and the kind of characters I’d use in the story. It also convinced me to use a suspense graph as a tool to outline the book. In case you missed this previously, here are examples of suspense graphs:


My encouragement to you is that you think about your choice of genre early in the process. Use the answers to your four “what” questions (see earlier post) to help you decide the best genre to serve your needs.

Another approach is to start with your decision about genre. You can decide out of the gate that you want to write a romance novel, a mystery, or an adventure story like I did. Let’s say you decide to write an adventure story–then you can apply the four “what” questions:

1. What is motivating me to write an adventure?

2. What specific audience do I want my book to reach?

3. What message(s) or lesson(s) do I want to convey to my readers during the adventure?

4. What difference would my writing make in the lives of those that read my book?

In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter if you start with the four “what” questions or choose your genre first. But the questions and the genre should be addressed up front as quickly as possible.

For now, try to answer the following questions:

1. Do I know what genre or category I’d like my book to be?

2. Have I answered the four “what” questions highlighted above?




Next time, we’ll talk about some benefits of attending a writer’s conference.